Cyber Security Degrees in North Carolina
There are multiple options for a cyber security degree in North Carolina, with on-campus and online programs throughout the state.
Being able to take classes online provides flexibility for the working professional to gain their footing in the cyber security field or advance in their career. Because the industry requires expert knowledge in information technology and software development, those interested in a cyber security career will need to be prepared with the knowledge and hands-on experience to succeed.
Many programs that are online-based will feature virtual classrooms and labs that will provide education in the latest developments in the field and how to stabilize networks and prevent further attacks with the newest software.
NSA CAE Designated Institutions for Cyber Security in North Carolina
When looking at educational programs in cyber security, it is a good idea to look for colleges and universities that have been accredited by the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). This is a combined effort from the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate specific programs that will best prepare those that are looking for a career in cyber security. They oversee many different kinds of programs, from certifications and two-year academic plans to higher-level graduate options. Categories include cyber defense, cyber research, and cyber operations.
In the state of North Carolina, there are nine schools that hold this designation from the CAE. A few of them are based at the most popular institutions, such as East Carolina and North Carolina State. Another full cyber security program is located at North Carolina A&T. The community colleges of Forsyth Technical and Rowan-Cabarrus offer associate degrees and certifications, with specializations in network security administration and Cisco networking.
Online Cyber Security Programs in North Carolina
At Eastern Carolina University, students are able to get a Cyber Security Professional certification that requires 12 credit hours, or four courses, to complete. This can be accomplished within one year and there are no on-campus residencies.
It is expected that students have a Bachelor's degree with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and recommended they have a certification within Cisco CCNA, CompTIA Network+, or Microsoft Network Essential. The following courses are taken in the certification: Research Methods in Technology, Information Security Management, Fundamentals of Network Security, and Network Intrusion, Detection, and Incidence Response.
Master's in Cyber Security Degrees in North Carolina
For those that have some work experience in cyber security or a related field and are looking to advance their career, obtaining a Master's degree could be an ideal option. In order to get into these programs, students should be able to demonstrate competence in computer science with other work experience or a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Holding at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA is recommended, but students can also submit GMAT or GRE scores to improve their chances (in some cases, these are also required for admittance). Prior coursework should consist of various levels of calculus, computer programming, and data structuring.
Many of North Carolina's top schools offer Master's programs in Computer Science and Information Technology with specializations in cyber security. The Department of Software and Information Systems at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has degrees at various levels, including the Master of Science in Cybersecurity. This program provides fundamental education needed to understand the protection of computer systems and networks, and skills such as encrypting information, investigating potential data breaches, and testing out the durability of security methods.
Additional options at UNC-Charlotte include pursuing the Master of Science in Information Technology with an area of emphasis in Information Security and Privacy. There are also graduate certificates in Network Security, Secure Software Development, and Information Security and Privacy. Each of the certificates will take between 12 to 15 credit hours to complete, and those earned can later be transferred to the full Master's degree in cyber security. These programs will also need some knowledge of data structures and computer programming before admittance.
Getting Started Working in Cyber Security in North Carolina
There are many opportunities to gain an education in the state of North Carolina at any level. Three community colleges offer two-year associates degrees, and six schools offer full programs with undergraduate and graduate degrees.
- Undergraduate Degrees:
At Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, there is an Associate in Applied Science with specializations in Cyber Security and Cybercrime and Digital Forensics, and the former also has online classes available. There are similar certifications that can be earned. These programs will generally take five semesters to complete with up to 70 credit hours required for graduation. Some of the early courses that will be taken in the program are Network and Security Foundation, Information Systems Concepts, and Routing and Switching.
Forsyth Tech Community College’s Cyber Security Center will prepare students to enter into the industry with three different programs. The Associate of Applied Science has areas of emphasis within Cyber Security and Systems Security. Foundational information is in the former program while the latter will have a specific focus on protecting organizational systems and various sizes of networks. The certification in Cyber Security that is delivered through an information technology curriculum can be completed in just one academic year with subjects in technology crimes, criminal investigation, and data recovery.
The Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington offers a Minor in Cybersecurity, where students complete 18 credit hours, or six total courses, to complete the degree. Core courses consist of Information Security Management, Network Fundamentals, System Administration, and Information Assurance and Security. Two electives are then selected, with options in Python programming, hacking methods, and there are seminars and internships granted by the department faculty.
- Masters and Continuing Education:
North Carolina A&T provides the Master of Science in Information Technology with specializations in Computer Networking and Communications and Computer Security. The 30-credit hour program has two paths students can take – completing a curriculum that strictly has coursework, or there is a thesis option. Admission into the program requires a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and holding at least a 3.0 GPA score. Students can have a lower GPA, but they will be admitted conditionally.
Students can also choose a Master’s degree in Computer Science with a Security track at North Carolina State. There are core courses in security with the following options: Foundations of Cryptography, Software Security, and Operating Systems Security. Four total courses need to be taken, along with three foundational courses, three computer science courses, and there is an orientation course that completes the 31-credit hour curriculum.
- Cyber Security Employment Options:
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the metropolitan area of Charlotte, Concord, and Gastoria across North Carolina and South Carolina have one of the biggest areas of employment with over 2,300 workers. It is also one of the higher-paying locations with an average salary of over $104,800. Analyst positions are a bit lower, ranging from $66,415 to $93,092. These figures jump all the way up to $130,000 for engineering positions. Some of the higher-paying locations are at Margarettsville, Pleasant Hill, and Roanoke Rapids.
North Carolina Cyber Security Careers
Charlotte and Raleigh are two of the more popular areas in North Carolina to begin a career in cyber security. Deloitte has numerous positions open at their Raleigh location, like the Cyber Risk Secure Software Enablement Consultant. The main goal for this job is to help clients create a defense in order to mitigate cyber risk. Wells Fargo’s headquarters for the East Coast division is located in Charlotte, and they have a base of cyber security professionals that analyze various risk, are security engineers, and have data science positions to increase security measures.
Top Cyber Security and Tech Employers and Organizations in North Carolina
The North Carolina Department of Information Technology offers services in this field to many organizations and institutions in the state. Directly related to cyber security, Girls Go CyberStart 2020 offers an exciting path for high school girls to become more involved in th esector. A free, interactive game that offers a number of challenges will get players comfortable with the basics of cyber security and earning potential scholarships and internship opportunities. They also provide cloud-based network security services that will monitor for strange network behavior, encrypts sensitive information such as credit card data and personal identification, and provides a virtual private network for a company.
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- Cyber Defense CAE-CD
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